Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has designed a variety of special study programs to help students systematically progress in their practice of Kadampa Buddhism. These programs are uniquely suited to the people of the modern world, and are comprised of the following:
The General Program (GP) provides a basic introduction to Buddhist teachings and meditation that is suitable for beginners. Through these classes we can learn how to use Buddha’s advice in our daily lives to solve our problems and find the peace and happiness we seek. General Program also includes advanced teachings and practices from both Sutra and Tantra.
More in-depth Study
The Foundation Program (FP) gives you the opportunity to engage in a structured study and meditation program on the essential teachings of the Buddhist spiritual path right here at Kadampa Meditation Center Hollywood.
Buddhism teaches that to find lasting happiness and meaning in our lives we need to follow a spiritual path. To follow this path it is important to have a close connection with a qualified teacher who can give us personal advice and encouragement, to listen to pure Dharma teachings and to be a part of a strong spiritual community. In this way we are able to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of Buddha’s teachings, maintain a daily meditation practice that is both focused and powerful, and make genuine spiritual progress.
The Teacher Training Program (TTP) is designed for people who wish to train as authentic Dharma Teachers or simply engage with Buddha’s teachings in the deepest possible manner. In addition to completing the study of fourteen texts of Sutra and Tantra, the student is required to observe certain commitments with regard to behavior and way of life, and to complete a number of meditation retreats. Through a deep and continuing commitment to the program of study, meditation, discussion, and retreat, we can gain deep experience of Buddha’s teachings, establish a strong meditation practice, and become a qualified teacher in our own right. This program is not yet offered at KMC Hollywood, but will be offered in the future.
Our present understanding and experience of Dharma is quite superficial. We are like someone who has entered a huge food store and seen many things but sampled only a few. We may have received many different teachings from many different teachers, but we have taken in very little, just a few morsels.
There is a gap between us and the Dharma. It feels as if the Dharma is there and we are here. Our mind is not mixed with Dharma and so we cannot apply it in our daily lives. As a result our ordinary everyday problems remain. We also find it difficult to integrate our spiritual path into our daily lives so we cannot use this Dharma to solve our daily problems.
When we study Dharma out mind remains passive, like someone watching television. Therefore our life and our Dharma remain completely separate and unrelated.
Why is this? It is because we are not studying and practicing systematically according to a specially designed spiritual program. If we just dabble superficially in a spiritual path we will never gain a deep and stable experience, and our wisdom will never develop to its full potential. This is why the spiritual programs offered by the New Kadampa Tradition are so important.”Geshe Kelsang Gyatso